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Top 5 Tours at Manuel Antonio National Park

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Manuel Antonio National Park is located at canton Quepos, province Puntarenas. It is an incredible place and even though it is quite small, it has become one of the main tourist destinations in the country.

The National Park counts with endless biodiversity at the central Pacific, where you can see white beaches with turquoise water and enjoy beautiful and impressive sunsets.

Here you can see much flora and fauna, for example, iguanas, sloths, Capuchin monkeys, squirrels, coatis, and hundreds of birds. The hotel offer is huge and there is everything from 1 to 5-star hotels, boutique hotels and hostels. There is something for everyone.

In Manuel Antonio there is much to do, so we started to look for the best tours you can do in this area. For this, we called or friends from Iguana Tours, that are experts in the area. So if you are planning to visit Manuel Antonio, we have some advice for you. I’m sure that after this blog you are even more excited to experience everything by yourself. So let’s start!

Tour Deluxe at Manuel Antonio National Park

This is a guided tour through the National Park. The certified guide explained to us a lot about biodiversity in this area. I’m sure he will affect you with his happiness and enthusiasm. It’s incredible how Mauricio (our guide from Iguana Tours) still gets excited about a bird that flew over our way, after 20 years working in this National Park (as he told us). He immediately started running to place his telescope so we could see it as well.

guia parque nacional manuel antonio

At the hike you can visit beaches and souvenir stores, the ways are accessible for wheelchairs as well and you can see a great number of wild animals.

It’s easy to see iguanas, ant-eater, and sloths, listen to the singing of the birds and watch the Capuchin monkeys play. It is the only place where with a little luck you can see a very special kind of squirrel monkey in its natural habitat because there are only less than 1000 animals of this kind.

The hike takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes. After the half, you can relax at the white sand beach with crystal-clear water and enjoy some tropical fruits and drinks. The guide also showed us some other trails which you can walk by yourself and see waterfalls, viewpoints and other beaches of the park.

Duration

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes

Includes

  • Collective excursion
  • Transport from/to the hotel in Quepos/Manuel Antonio
  • Bilingual guide (English, Spanish, French or German)
  • Fruit snack and a drink, as well as the entrance to the National Park.

What should I bring?

  • Water bottle
  • Swimwear
  • Sunblock
  • Towel
  • Hat
  • Camera
  • Changing cloth (optional)

Reserve - Manuel Antonio National Park Deluxe!

Catamaran Snorkel and Sunset Tour

A catamaran is a small boat with two parallel hulls, which is designed for tourist activities. On this tour, you can enjoy nature and beautiful views from the ocean to the coasts of Quepos and the National Park. We did the tour in the afternoon and left and 1:30 p.m.

Onboard, we met Tomás, a man from Limón who is working for many years on the Catamaran of Iguana Tours. He is responsible for the party vibes, shares time with everyone, takes selfies, talks to everyone and also has his live music show. He is also responsible that everything is in order and that everyone follows the rules.

During the ride, we had the luck of seeing dolphins playing and jumping in front of the catamaran. Later, the captain stopped the boat so we could jump inside the ocean or use the slides and swim in the warm water of the pacific ocean. We swam a little bit (50-75 Meters) until we reached the riff where we could snorkel for a while.

iguana tours catamaran jump

Depending on the season, you might be lucky and see some humpback whales, dolphins, rays and many more animals.

The whole trip there was good music playing and they had fresh fruits and a minibar, in which you can drink all the cocktails and soft drinks you want (the only thing that is not included is beer). Before the trip ends, you will enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner, depending on the time you take the tour.

This is a highly recommended tour, no matter if as a couple, with friends, or in the family.

Duration

  • 3 hours and 30 minutes

Includes

  • Collective excursion
  • Transportation from/to your hotel in Quepos/Manuel Antonio
  • Bilingual guide (English and Spanish)
  • Lunch and cocktails with a national liquor on board.
  • Equipment for snorkeling
  • Live music on board

What should I bring?

  • Comfortable cloth
  • Swimwear
  • Sunblock
  • Towel
  • Hat (one that doesn’t fly away on the ocean)
  • Camera
  • Changing cloth (optional)

Reserve - Catamaran Snorkel and Sunset Tour!

Kayak and Snorkeling on the ocean

Is there a possibility to fell freer and be closer to the ocean, than in a kayak? Imagine paddling and seeing rays and dolphins swimming by your side. This is another adventure you can do in Manuel Antonio, in a group or individually.

Everything starts in Quepos at the Marina Pez Vela, where you drive along the coast of the beach and Manuel Antonio National Park until you get to Bahia de Biezans. Here you can take a swim in the turquoise water of the pacific ocean and enjoy and delicious local snack.

kayak oceano

It can be a bit exhausting paddling by the sea and with the waves and rip currents. For this reason, it is recommended to have a certain physical condition to enjoy the tour.

The guide of Iguana Tours goes with you and shows you the best places for snorkeling. In the end, you can eat a delicious lunch. It is a great way to experience the coast of the Pacific Ocean of Costa Rica.

Duration

  • 4 hours

Includes

  • Collective excursion
  • Transport from/to your hotel in Quepos/Manuel Antonio
  • Local guide
  • Fruits and refreshing drinks
  • Equipment (kayak for the ocean for one or two people)

What should I bring?

  • Swimwear
  • Sunblock
  • Towel
  • Hat
  • Camera
  • Changing cloth (optional)

Requirements

  • Preferable experience with kayaks on the ocean
  • Good physical condition (to paddle on the ocean)
  • Minimum age: 8 years (accompanied by an adult in a double kayak)
  • Comfortable cloth and shoes that can get wet

Reserve - Sea Kayak and Snorkel Tour!

Kayak through the mangroves of Isla Damas

In this tour, you can enter the mangrove forest while a local guide shows you some interesting aspects of this environment. It’s normal to see wild animals and the shores. We were able to see monkeys, crabs, and small caimans.

kayak damas mangroove

It is important to bring repellent or another protection against the insects and not to wear bright colors like red, blue, yellow or purple which attract the insects.

The ride takes about 2 hours and you paddle through 4 different types of mangroves and you will see the scenic forest like in a movie. After the tour, a delicious lunch and natural drinks wait for you. This is definitively something you need to experience once in your life. 

Duration

  • 2 hours

Includes

  • Equipment (double or single kayak)
  • Swimwear
  • Lunch

What should I bring?

  • Protector solar
  • Light cloth
  • Camera
  • Repellent

Reserve - Damas Island Kayak Tour!

Horseback Riding Tacori Waterfalls Rancho Don Gilberto

Close to the town of Quepos, there is beautiful countryside with trails through the grasslands and forests, with a river and a beautiful waterfall. With no doubt, this is a great way to relax and enjoy a ride on a horse.

tocori horses and people

We stared the tour at Rancho Don Gilberto, where Don Gilberto himself was our certified natural guide, who told us about the plants that are growing on the ranch and its application in health, the kitchen, wildlife, history, and culture. He also answered some questions we had. When we started the horseback riding tour, the guide gave us some instructions. No matter is it is the first time you sit on a horse or not, with this advice you feel like an expert.

While we were riding, we crossed a primary forest (never changed by humans) of the Reserva Ecológica Privada Tacori (private ecological reserve Tocori), where we saw a lot of wildlife and beautiful landscapes, until we reached the Tacori waterfall, where we enjoyed a refreshing bath in its waters.

tocori waterfalls

At this place, we got a snack and a bottle of water. When everyone was ready, we went back to the ranch to enjoy a delicious lunch.

Duration

  • 2 hours

Includes

  • Collective excursion 
  • Transportation from/to your hotel in Quepos/Manuel Antonio
  • Natural Guide
  • Lunch, fruits, and juice
  • Necessary equipment (helmet and mount)

What should I bring?

  • Water-resistant boots or shoes
  • Swimwear
  • Repellent
  • Sunblock
  • Towel
  • Changing cloth (optional)

Requirements

  • Comfortable cloth and long pants
  • Maximum weight per person: 200 Libras / 90 kilogram
  • Minimum age: 7 years

Reserve - Horseback Riding Tocori Waterfalls!

With no doubt, there is a great number of activities at the Manuel Antonio National Park, but the ones I mentioned in this blog are options I consider the best for an unforgettable experience in Costa Rica. Anyway, there are some others available that fit any traveler that visits Manuel Antonio National Park.

I hope this blog has been helpful and we will soon be enjoying those options in this area together. 

If you would like to share your experience or if you have a question, feel free to write it in the comments down below. You can also write to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will soon be in contact with you. 

Greetings from paradise!

Thursday, 20 February 2020 08:34 Written by César Otárola
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